Reference News Network reported on February 20 (Wen/Gao Chunyu, Xu Wei, Wang Wei) In the past five years, the Venezuelan economy has continued to decline due to the decline in international oil prices, the decline in domestic oil production, and US sanctions. In 2018, Venezuela's gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 18%, and the GDP of this South American country fell for five consecutive years. On January 23, Venezuelan opposition member and parliamentary president Juan Guaido declared himself a temporary president, a move that stirred the political arena.
How does this severe political and economic situation affect the lives of people in Venezuela, and what is their current status? A few days ago, our reporter conducted an in-depth visit.
Standing on the job
April in February, in the city of Baruta, in the outskirts of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, the reporter traveled west along Rio de Janeiro Street, on one side of the depleted Guayre River, and on the other side to promote the government's medical treatment for the people's graffiti. wall.
A blue Renault hatchback drove past and slowly stopped to stop. A middle-aged woman shook the window: Hey, where are you going? Pick up your phone, don't hold it in your hand, someone will grab it. After learning the destination, she said that she could take the reporter with her way.
She talked about her life on the road: My husband and I quarreled again. Because I am a teacher at Central University, I earn only $3 a month. You didn't get it wrong, it's $3. He asked me what else to do in this job, but I said that I must do it. Central University of Venezuela is one of the oldest and largest public universities in the country. In recent years, the socio-economic situation is grim. Even if some departments have lost students and teachers leave, the shortage of hardware equipment is aging, and the teaching order is affected. However, teachers like her continue to stick to their posts.
In recent years, although the Maduro government has carried out a series of reforms in terms of wages, currency, exchange rate, oil price, and people's livelihood, it is difficult to return due to structural problems in the country's economy, and the US sanctions committee's economic, financial, and petroleum industries. The measures have had little effect.
Prices are skyrocketing
The taxi driver Draus's apartment is located on the 11th floor of a residential building in the San Pedro district of Caracas. When the reporter came to his home, he and his wife Noriega were preparing to eat. Their lunch is simple: broth, rice and orange juice.
The types of things we eat are still those, but the proportions have changed. In the past, our family of three had eaten about 5 kilograms of meat a week, and now we can't eat two kilograms of meat a week. If the meat is eaten less, we will eat more cheap dishes. Draos said.
Draos recalled: I remember a few years ago, 1 kilogram of meat was about 95 strong Bolivar, after which the price was getting higher and higher, and the back '0' was more and more. In August last year, the five-zero sovereign Bolivar was removed to replace the strong Bolivar and began to circulate in Venezuela. In just a few months, the exchange rate of this new currency against the US dollar plummeted from 2.5 to 3,300. Due to the serious inflation, the Maduro government has raised wages more than 10 times in the past two years. International financial institutions estimate that Venezuela's current annual inflation rate is about 1.7 million.
The 61-year-old Draos has been suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease for many years. He told reporters that it was much easier to buy medicine in Caracas than before, and the price was more approachable than his income at the time. . Even if the absolute price of the drug has not changed, the inflation is so serious that the money I earned has shrunk compared to the previous one.
Rewarding the United States
Originally, many drugs in Venezuela were imported directly from the United States, Portugal, Germany, Cuba, India and other countries. Now, I can only go to the hospital for a drug in half a month - because of the sanctions, the government can only buy drugs through some agents. Draos explained that in this way, the supply of medicines is small, the delivery time is long, and the price is high.
A few days ago, a batch of humanitarian aid from the United States arrived in Cukuta, a border town in northeastern Colombia, and managed to move into Venezuela.
In Draus's view, American behavior is a farce. To a certain extent, Venezuela's "retribution" to American sanctions. He said, just like my neighbor came to my house to take my things away, hit me a meal, then ran to the street and shouted 'everyone come to save Mr. Draos', this is a truth.
What makes Draeus more worried is that the United States is trying to use aid as a cover and force to interfere in the situation in Venezuela. Once a military conflict or war occurs, many people will be injured or killed, children will be homeless, and the entire nation will suffer enormous trauma.